Lewis Secretarial and Computer College | abcc member
A big welcome to our newest member colleges, Lewis Secretarial and Computer College.
Founder and Principal Penny Lewis explains how it all began –
When I started my business in the 1980s from my dining room in our 1930s semi – sitting round our 1930s dining table we had bought from a second-hand shop (having just got married), the last thing I would have imagined is that it would have turned into a business with nearly 400 students and counting.
Having recently qualified as a Further Education Lecturer and returning to south Devon, I couldn’t get a job as a teacher as there were not that many around. Not wanting to waste my hard-earned teaching qualifications, I thought I would stick a small lineage advert in the local paper and see what happens. I was 27 at the time. I started off with teaching shorthand only as this did not require any equipment.
The advert went well and so I carried on! I bought some typewriters (manual!) and put these on my 1930s dining room table and had 4 students in the evening learning typewriting and shorthand. After a few months we splashed out and bought 4 MFI desks, which my husband put together, and put a white board up on the wall. We no longer had a dining room but a small classroom in our home. We carried on like this for a few months and gradually I started to do afternoon lessons as well as evening lessons, having been at work in the mornings.
A year after starting, I took the plunge and went to look for proper offices in Torquay. This was now 1984. I went self-employed and everything took off.
New electric typewriters, classrooms, new courses designed rather than just lessons – Lewis Secretarial was launched, together with Lewis Recruitment – starting our own employment agency as well. Staff were taken on and more and more students came, mainly from the local area but gradually from further afield.
Over the years we of course grew more and with the Internet we moved over to distance learning being one of the first colleges to provide training this way. It was a great hit and as they say – we have never looked back.
So as with many business organisations – they do start off from a very small acorn!